Saturday, August 1, 2009

Diversity in Christian Fiction ~ Faith n Fiction Saturday

Today's Topic

Deborah often mentions the lack of diversity in Christian fiction, and I definitely think it's something we should talk about more as I observe that many Christians do not feel that Christian fiction represents their own Christian experience.

Do you think Christian fiction represents a diverse range of belief, Christian experience, skin color, and nationality? Have you ever read a book and realized you hadn't read anything quite like it in Christian fiction before? Have you ever wished an author would take a different point of view? Do you think that avid readers of Christian fiction are open to more diversity in Christian fiction? What are some stand-out examples of books that represent diversity in Christian fiction?

My Answer

I don't believe Christian fiction represents a diverse range of color or nationality. Yes, there are several African-American authors e.g. Sharon Ewell Foster and as for Asian-American, there's only Camy Tang.

I feel like Christian fiction is very homogenized. It's all white, all the time. I'm not saying I have a problem with it, because I'm Caucasian and can relate to the people in the stories I read. I wouldn't have a lot in common with the struggles of slaves in the 1800's, I wouldn't understand what it was like to live in a Japanese camp in the early 1900's, etc. That's not to say I wouldn't want to read about their experience or enjoy a novel set in that time with their point of view.

I do wish there were more novels that covered topics such as divorced Christians. I read a novel several years ago about a lady with a weight issue and she got the guy. I loved that novel!! All the women and men are always the good looking ones.

Amish, regency, and novels that cover other time periods give us a wonderful view of times past. I wish that authors didn't always end the novel with the two people living happily ever after. Maybe they end up just being the best of friends, and that's ok.

What authors have you read that bring diversity into Christian fiction?


Stormi said...

I agree :)

Dani In NC said...

Speaking of the couple ending up "happily ever after", I think I may scream if I read one more book where happiness means that the couple has a kid or 12 at the end :-).

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

I have a book recommendation in my post

I don't think that there is a lot of diversity. I think it's sad. I like reading about other people's point of view.

Cecelia said...

I think Julie Lessman's novels bring some diversity to Christian fiction because of the edgy subject matter.
You told about a novel you'd read with an overweight heroine? I submitted a proposal to a publisher with an overweight heroine once. Her weight loss was part of the story line. They turned it down, stating that their readership didn't take too kindly to overweight heroines.
As for the happily ever after ending...well, I think those are the endings that satisfy MOST readers. If the book is marketed as a romance then there HAS to be a happy ending, with the couple together romantically, as far as I know.
Yes, I have noticed that publishers are mostly publishing Caucasian and AA novels, however, I don't see many AA CATEGORY CHRISIAN ROMANCE novels. That's the genre that I'm currently writing for now and I don't see a whole lot of AA representation there. Someone else blogged about this same subject - diversity in Christian romances - about a year ago.

Mimi N said...

Cecilia, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I'm sorry to hear that your novel wasn't picked up with the weighloss issue. I'm sure it would've been well received by readers! Honestly, I'd prefer weightloss not to be part of the story unless it were for medical reasons. Otherwise it seems as though she's just trying to fit the mold like the rest of us.

I understand about the "happy ending" of romances. I just thought I'd throw the idea out there. :)

Can't wait to hear how your AA writing goes!! Blessings!!


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